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5 tips for adding connected TV to your holiday ad strategy

With streaming TV time at record levels, you can’t afford to leave Connected TV ads out of your holiday game plan.

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There’s no doubt about it: this year you need to add Connected TV to your holiday ad strategy. With total viewing time on Connected TV devices jumping 81% year-over-year, millions of shoppers will be spending more time streaming television than ever before. And while you may initially think that viewers are mostly tuning in to subscription options like Netflix or Disney+, it’s ad-supported Connected TV that’s getting a major chunk of viewership; according to research from the IAB: 

  • 73% of streaming viewers watch ad-supported CTV content.
  • 45% of streaming viewers watch ad-supported CTV the most. 

Meanwhile, this holiday shopping season is set to be massive for ecommerce. Last year saw holiday ecommerce sales grow by 13.2% to $137.6 billion. That double-digit growth occurred before the COVID-19 crisis forced millions of shoppers to turn to online options for everything from gifts to groceries. And with 66% of shoppers saying they plan to buy more online this holiday season, we can expect to see ecommerce sales eclipse last year’s. 

Connected TV advertising sits right at the crossroads of these two major consumer trends. Its digital approach to TV advertising makes it an ideal solution for brands looking to expand their marketing footprint into television. And its ability to act as a direct-response performance ad channel makes it an excellent option for any advertiser looking to tie specific performance goals to their ad spend. SteelHouse Performance TV, our CTV ad solution, has proven especially effective at driving key metrics for our advertisers in 2020. 


We cover the best ways to make the most of this year’s Connected TV opportunity in our 2020 Holiday Marketing Guide, and we highly recommend you check it out. If you’re looking for some quick advice, though, we’ve got you covered—here are the top five things to keep in mind when adding Connected TV to your holiday ad strategy. 

1. Use Connected TV Prospecting to Reach Valuable New Audiences

Connected TV is great at getting your brand in front of new audiences. That’s because it uses audience-first targeting, just like a digital ad channel like social or display. For example, SteelHouse Performance TV leverages the Oracle Date Cloud (the world’s largest CTV audience provider) to give advertisers access to tens of thousands of audience segments. 

Shoppers tend to seek out brands they’re already familiar with when it’s time to buy, so reaching them early in the shopping season is key. Sort your targeting by demographic data, interests, or even geography to find your ideal audience, then pair those audiences with “in-market” segments to ensure you’re targeting shoppers who are looking to buy. Here are a few other best practices: 

  • Start Early | Launch your CTV prospecting campaigns as early as September to start drumming up brand awareness among key audiences. 
  • Launch Multiple Campaigns | Target different kinds of shoppers with different campaigns—target gift buyers with one, and those shopping for themselves with another.
  • Make it Direct-Response | CTV prospecting drives an efficient cost per visit because it’s great at prompting users to take action; give your ad a strong visual and audible CTA.

2. Reconnect with Your Site Visitors via Connected TV Retargeting

Once your prospecting campaigns have driven new audiences to your site, it’s time to tap into that newfound audience pool. CTV retargeting allows you to leverage your first-party data and target site visitors with high-quality ads streamed across television. 

CTV retargeting is an enormous direct-response ad opportunity. With only 10% of marketers seeing video ads as a lower-funnel strategy, you have a competitive advantage with CTV retargeting since it’s something your competition may overlook.

  • Get Aggressive | They visited your site, but they didn’t buy – so these shoppers may need a little extra incentive to convert. Include more aggressive deals and promos in these ads to lure them back.
  • Ramp in November | Launch retargeting campaigns in the run-up to Black Friday and keep them running all the way into the New Year. 
  • Focus on Products | The shoppers you’re retargeting already know your brand, so make your products the focus of your ad.  

3. Immerse Your Audience

Ads streamed on television are great at grabbing user attention, and generate 32% more ad recall than the next closest device. But holiday shoppers tend to jump from device to device. It’s best practice to have related display ads (both in message and aesthetic) running on web and mobile to ensure you deliver a consistent message across multiple channels.

For the sake of simplicity and cohesiveness, you’ll want to use a CTV ad platform that has the ability to launch both CTV and display ads from a single campaign. For that reason, SteelHouse Performance TV utilizes Audience Extension, which serves related display ads across web and mobile to viewers who are also being served your CTV ads. This creates an immersive experience that generates better results than running just display ads alone. Case in point, here’s how a leading home supply retailer’s Performance TV retargeting campaign stacked up against display-only retargeting. 

  • 48% better ROAS
  • 229% more unique site visitors
  • 45% lower cost per site visit
  • 98% fewer impressions per single visit

4. Provide a Living Room Quality Experience

Even though viewers can watch Connected TV on mobile or desktop devices, the vast majority watch it on television. This is good news for advertisers, because: 

This user behavior drives home the importance of using a CTV ad solution that targets TV screens for CTV ads instead of mobile or desktop. A viewer most likely won’t exit out of their stream to visit your site, but they are likely to visit if they can do that and still watch their show. Be careful as some CTV ad solutions will say they offer CTV inventory, but will actually mix in other video inventory that’s served on devices other than TV. 

SteelHouse Performance TV serves CTV ads exclusively to television screens on top streaming networks like Hulu, ESPN, Bravo, FOX Sports, and over 150 others. This ensures your CTV ads are delivering an experience that is traditionally only found in the living room, watching network television. It also delivers valuable brand safety for your ads during the holiday shopping season, and takes advantage of viewers’ natural second screen habits so they can immediately navigate to your site. 

5. Track Cross-Device Shopping Journeys

Accurate cross-device measurement is a necessity for Connected TV advertising. Shoppers aren’t able to convert on their televisions, after all, so you’ll need a way to track from when they first see your CTV ad to when they convert on your site. 

SteelHouse uses Cross-Device Verified Visits, which is our proprietary technology that measures any user visits to your site following a completed in-view display of your ads, in a window of time defined by you. It’s fully integrated into Google Analytics, so you can measure and verify your performance using the leading 3rd party analytics platform as well. Here’s the basic of how it works: 

  • A user watches your ad on Connected TV. 
  • The user visits your site on any household device within the Verified Visit window.
  • The user converts within your conversion window.

Tracking this customer journey is absolutely crucial to measuring success for your CTV campaigns. Cross-device measurement helps connect the dots of your customer’s journey and ensures you know how effective your campaigns are at driving user behavior. Armed with this knowledge, you can make better-informed decisions when it’s time to plan your budgets. 

Seize This Year’s Connected TV Opportunity

This holiday season will be a big one for Connected TV advertisers. With millions more viewers streaming, the audience is out there and waiting. And with CTV’s targeting, measurement, and direct-response ad capabilities, advertisers will be able to effectively reach them and drive action. Check out the 2020 SteelHouse Holiday Marketing Guide for more tips and insights, and have a very merry holiday season. 

About the author

Sponsored Content: SteelHouse
SteelHouse is an AI-driven, self-service advertising software company for brands of all sizes. The SteelHouse Advertising Suite provides marketers with everything they need to launch campaigns on Connected TV and retarget site visitors through display and mobile. Our solutions give advertisers total transparency and complete control over their campaigns - all with the fastest go-live in the industry.

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